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Kern County Fires Hospital CEO; Animal Control Director

Sep 10, 2013

Kern County offices in downtown Bakersfield (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors has fired two high profile department heads within 24 hour of each other. Both Kern Medical Center CEO Paul Hensler and Animal Control Director Jen Woodard were dismissed over concerns about their performance. 

On Monday night, the board voted to fire Hensler after a lengthy meeting over concerns about financial mismanagement at the county run hospital.

Two big issues stood out – a budget deficit for the current fiscal year that tops $9 million, and the failure to develop a plan to repay the state for prior overpayment for services. 

An independent consultant and the hospital’s new Chief Financial Officer say they will continue to investigate the  books of the medical center over the next three months. 

Just hours later, county leaders chose to make another leadership change. On Tuesday afternoon, the board voted unanimously to fire Animal Control Director Jen Woodard, who had been on the job for just under one year.

Her dismissal came on the same day that the board chose not to pursue her proposal to support a low cost county run spay and neuter program, and instead to ask outside groups for proposals to do the same.

It also comes after the controversial split between the county and the City of Bakersfield, which in August told the county it needs to vacate the city owned animal shelter that the two governments had shared for years.